Final Destination 3
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman. Rated 18A.
You can't cheat death. Director James Wong made that point in 2000 with Final Destination, David R. Ellis drove it home in 2003's Final Destination 2, and now Wong is back to remind anyone who may have forgotten. But the former X Files producer and staff writer needn't have bothered, because this third entry in the Vancouver-shot series is the weakest yet. There was better acting in the first and better action in the second. Mind you, only the third has naked bimbos getting baked alive in tanning booths to the strains of the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster".
In all three installments, an innocent young person has a last-minute premonition of a terrible accident (plane explosion, freeway pileup, roller coaster disaster), and by freaking out big-time he or she manages to save themselves and a handful of others. The majority of those saved are ignorant jocks, self-obsessed jerks, and idiot arseholes, so it's actually good news that the Grim Reaper is a bad loser. Death is gonna get 'em one way or another, and there's no shortage of well-paid Hollywood screenwriters who'll lie awake at night thinking of ingenious new ways to take the back of a guy's head clean off.
In this latest installment, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the lead role of Wendy Christensen, the psychic teenager who foresees a roller coaster malfunctioning and killing her and several schoolmates. Before the pivotal crash, Wendy takes photos of her fairgoing friends for the high-school yearbook, and these snapshots provide clues as to how they will eventually die. She and another survivor, played by the uncharismatic Ryan Merriman, try to intervene in death's vendetta, with little success. That's it for the plot, but no matter. Who needs an intriguing story line when an everyday piece of equipment can be used to splatter someone's head like a festering zit?